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National Theatre Goes to the Movies, Lotsa Other Stuff

Helen-mirren The National Theatre of Great Britian is taking a leaf from the Metropolitan Opera's book by broadcasting four of its plays in movie theatres across the UK. The program will be called NT Live. Why can't they do it around the world like the Met? Plenty of us Americans would buy a ticket right away. The first offering will be Helen Mirren in Phedre on June 25. Perhaps Broadway or Lincoln Center could try this. It would definitely spark interest in live theatre. Such an experiment was tried in the early 1960s when Richard Burton was playing Hamlet. A one-time-only showing of the filmed stage production was presented in movie theatres across the country.You can get the DVD from Netflix. Burton's performance and those of Alfred Drake, Hume Cronyn (who won a Tony), and many others are preserved forever.

Other interesting news:

We’ve gotten some weird casting notices at Back Stage, but this one is definitely out there—maybe even from beyond the grave. The producers of the upcoming revival of Blithe Spirit, starring Angela Lansbury and Christine Ebersole, are holding auditions for a real-life psychic or medium to conjure up the spirit of the play’s late author Sir Noel Coward and to be the show’s official paranormal consultant. Producers are asking real-life mediums or actors with psychic powers to email their name and supernatural resume to blithespiritcasting@gmail.com. Auditions will be held on Thur. Jan. 22 at Sardi’s across the street from the Shubert Theatre where Blithe Spirit will begin preview performances Feb. 26 for a March 15 opening.

Ricardo_Montalban Two disparate actors died today--Ricardo Montalban and Patrick MacGoohan.Both were best known for their TV work in somewhat cultish shows, Montalban for Fantasy Island and MacGoohan for The Prisoner. But I remember Montalban for his MGM movies such as On an Island With You and Two Weeks With Love. MacGoohan scared me to death as a child when he played the Scarecrow, a masked avenger of the 18th century, on a special three-part The Wonderful World of Color (before it was even The Wonderful World of Disney).

--David Sheward

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